891 Baker Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
So I've decided to return to Kohryu (yet again) in hopes of the once-known-glory doing the same. If you've been following this blog, you might remember how Chinese Restaurant Koryu was historically the best ramen-ya in OC, but after a few ownership changes they just kept plummeting (imho) like the stock market is today. Ironically, "Chinese Restaurant" Koryu had better ramen than "Japanese Noodle House" Kohryu (not sure what's up with that or the added "h"). But it's been 10 months since my last visit and because I'm constantly hoping for ramen improvement wherever I revisit, I found myself back in a familiar spot, reminiscing (yet again) about the past.
Shacho Ramen: Shacho means boss, so apparently this would be Boss Ramen. (Whenever I hear boss in a Japanese context, it always reminds me of Tiger Woods' Boss can coffee commercial...remember that?) In any case, I wanted to order the kotteri shoyu Koi Ramen but they were out of it on this day. So instead, I ordered the other "Chef's Favorite" in the kotteri miso base. Amazingly, this s*** was good! The toppings (ground pork, moyashi, onions, negi, chashu, menma, and caramelized scallions) were surprisingly out of this ramen world. The sweet miso-infused sharpness really tingled my tastebuds with a boss-like lashing. Within minutes, I was at bay and yearning for more.
The noodles weren't very impressive, but I've pictured the average curly noodle below to give a comparison of what comes next.
Chanpon: A good chanpon contains everything you can imagine (seafood, pork, vegetables) and this shio-based concoction, which also comes in miso or spicy-miso, is arguably the best in the West. Of course Foo-Foo Tei's version contains fresher ingredients, but it's hard to compete with what comes next...
...a different noodle. Yes, you read it correctly. This Chanpon comes with a more straight noodle like the ones you'd typically find in Chinese noodle soups. Impressive indeed! I wouldn't have it any other way!
Gyoza: Unfortunately, the gyoza showed no improvement over past visits. A mushy, overloaded mess of garlic and pork that doesn't even satisfy a starving soul. Skip these for something else!
This neighborhood is very special to me and it always feels good to come back home. Although Kohryu will never be the same as I once remembered it, it's always nice to know that it's still there. There's nothing like eating ramen and then scheduling your next Japan trip right next door!